Agriculture Technology- Empowering Farmers

Agriculture Technology and Smart Farming

Despite the application of around two million tonnes of pesticides, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN), 20-40% of the global crop yields are lost to pests and diseases. The usage of pesticides and fertilizers needs to be controlled and optimized with agricultural solutions. Advanced technology in agriculture is driven by continuous improvements in digital farming as well as collaboration among farmers and researchers in private and public domains. Conventional farming techniques and predictions are replaced by modern technology in agriculture and specific monitoring of crop-needs

Agriculture technology or Agri technology is also known as agritech. It is efficient in mapping, monitoring, and managing farming decisions precisely. Agriculture solutions come in various formats such as satellite imagery, sensors, agriculture machines, and software solutions. Drones (Unmanned Aerial vehicles) have emerged in recent years from imagery to advanced processing of depth, texture, and quality analysis of soil as well as crop scouting. It can map the yield and also individual crops to spot crop enemies earlier. This allows farmers to apply precise chemicals and remove pests in the early stages. This also helps in avoiding the unnecessary application of chemicals on crops that are not attacked by enemies.

Agriculture is the lifeline for the global population, which is estimated to grow by 33% to almost 10 billion in 2050. Agriculture uses nearly 40% of the land surface of our planet. It employs 1.3 billion people globally, which is half the labor available. Although the share of employment generated by agriculture varies widely, it remains the second biggest employment provider worldwide after the services industry.

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Farming is highly dependent on resources such as soil quality and texture, water resources, seeds, market demands, and most important weather conditions. Up to 70% of the water we take from rivers and groundwater is consumed in the food and agriculture sector which is three times more than 50 years ago. Whereas, the demand for water in agriculture is estimated to be increased further by 19% by the year 2050 due to irrigation needs. The increasing demands for irrigation are threatening to literally dry up the ecosystem. In today’s world of combating challenges like climate change and global warming, natural resources are shrinking and seasons are becoming unpredictable. At such times, reducing water waste without affecting the yield is essential. Water utility can be restricted by the optimization of the crop’s need for water and by choosing the right time to water it. Sensors fixed in the field can accurately sense the humidity in the soil and the analysis of the data predicts the approximate period to water the field.

Crop production is primarily decided by the soil examination, and weather in a particular location. In addition, market demands need to be considered with seasons and location. The development of the analytics of economics in agriculture is key to sustaining productivity and profitability in agriculture.

As time passed, agriculture revolutions became a game-changer in the agriculture sector. Industrial revolutions and encouragement for research and development from all around the world changed the face of many domains including farming. Advanced farming technology has turned conventional agriculture into controlled and optimized farming with smarter agriculture solutions. New technology in agriculture is playing a major role in the management of farming. Farm management is a concept of the collection of various strategies and methods that are employed in farming to keep the farm productive and profitable.

Farm management works in four modes:

  1. Operation and control
  2. Study, understanding, and description
  3. Diagnosis and
  4. Prescription

Agriculture solutions are concerned with the day-to-day operation and management of an actual farm, estate, cooperative, or other farm-based producing/marketing entity. Farm management studies provide an understanding and description of farm systems and farm-related problems. Identification of problems and weaknesses in the farm-level systems is managed in the diagnosis mode. In the end, prescriptive activities are aimed at the prescription of action plans in agriculture solutions for overcoming problems or weaknesses in the farm management process which calls back to operation and control.

Challenges faced by farmers and stakeholders

The 500 million smallholder farming households worldwide produce about 33% of the world's food. These farmers face multiple challenges during cultivation – from procuring quality seeds to selling harvest at a reasonable price. Often, they lack the required skill set and knowledge to improve productivity and cut financial losses. This makes empowering and supporting them both essential and challenging.

Like farmers, agricultural input companies play a significant role in the success of a cultivation cycle. Be it protecting crops from pests and diseases, adding nutrients to the soil, or post-harvest processing, Agri-input companies play a crucial role in increasing productivity.

However, the availability of Agri-inputs to the farmers also depends on the accurate understanding of factors such as the nature of the cultivable land; moisture content; weather; the chemistry between soil and agri-inputs resources, which is an important deciding factor that can easily go wrong; etc., are crucial to deciding the ideal crop for cultivation. Apart from understanding the practical details of cultivation, the challenge lies in communicating the information effectively to the farming community in real-time to enable efficient precision farming practices.

Disrupting agriculture

The traditional approach toward agriculture is transforming. The first technological revolution in agriculture yielded promising results, and cereal yields in East Asia rose over 300% between 1962 and 2004, according to a World Bank report (2008).

Increasing the yield while using less energy and pesticides and developing climate change resilience are the new challenges for the agricultural sector. These factors have pushed the need for technological innovations in the agricultural sector. Technology should address not only the demand side but also the value chain/supply side of the food scarcity equation.

Digitalization of agriculture is the way forward

Farm digitalization is making inroads into the agricultural sector and has gained pace to meet the demands of a growing population. Digitalization of agriculture has become integral to enabling collaboration among various stakeholders and farmers to ensure a successful cultivation cycle.

Cropin, an Agtech pioneer focusing on digitalizing agriculture, has developed an intelligent cloud platform. Its full-stack solution utilizes and provides data generated over a decade and guides agriculture stakeholders to improve crop yield and quality through smart farming supported by predictive intelligence. It digitalizes the cultivation cycle end-to-end and enhances farm operations with business intelligence.

Cropin is an intelligent and self-evolving system delivering smarter agriculture solutions to the entire agriculture sector. It fulfills the requirements of live reporting, analysis, interpretation, and insight needed in the modern technology in agriculture for smarter agriculture solutions. Digitization of farms with Cropin is bringing automation to agriculture while reducing resource utilization. Continuously increasing world population and decreasing resource availability are the current global problems which demand sustainable development in every domain. Cropin brings sustainability to agriculture by strengthening and empowering Agri and resources in the agri-ecosystem. This is possible by enabling businesses to benefit from actionable insights and empowering farmers through advisory and alerts.

A SaaS (Software as a System) based cloud software provided by CropIn is used to manage the financial and field activities of farms. The manual data maintenance on paper by farmers is prone to human calculation errors. With upcoming technologies, farmers were provided with computer spreadsheets to maintain financial data. In the meantime, satellite imagery with agritech brought field zone tracking in farming. Through this agriculture technology-enhanced farming, the management of continuously monitored data and financial records became a challenge for farmers. The technical improvements achieved an agritech SaaS, which is one of the most efficient tools to manage data analytics and satellite imagery in smarter agriculture solutions. This system works to collect, analyze data and manage all the activities from farm to fork. The contribution of Cropin to modern technology in agriculture is supporting international farmers by providing innovative technologies, 100% data security, and IoT-based agricultural systems.

Agri-input companies have a lot to gain from digitizing operations. They can increase farmer engagement, provide tailored value-added services, and share alerts and data-driven insights. Over time, this engagement transforms into farmer loyalty. Demo plots can be registered, and farm activities captured digitally. Collated farmer data during events can be used to engage with them and improve brand recall. This can be used to engage smallholder farmers and high-net-worth individuals.

A case in point- AWBA

Cropin partnered with Awba, the largest manufacturer and distributor of agrochemicals in Myanmar, to digitize and empower rural farming communities of the nation.

The challenging tasks that Awba faced included:

  • Increasing business in a sustainable manner
  • Capturing plot-level information while providing product demonstrations
  • Addressing on-field challenges efficiently
  • Extending satellite-based and weather-based advisories to farmers
  • Educating farmers on the benefits of its products

Cropin’s intervention helped Awba in its marketing exercise and dealer management. Digitization created a farmer database where it published/pushed the impact metrics and educated farmers. This also helped with the customization of products and empowered farmers. Cropin also helped share the best farm practices to enhance productivity and created loyalty for Awba.

Impact of Agriculture Technology

  • Enabled farmer engagement and loyalty
  • Manage and track dealers/distributors
  • Efficient management of 15,000 strong sales and farm teams
  • Visibility of high- and low-density sales points
  • Understand farmers’ challenges

Similarly, Cropin has enabled the transformation of over 250 organizations across 92 nations by digitizing 0.2 billion acres of farmland. Digitalization ensures collaboration among various stakeholders and farmer communities to achieve the common goal of improving productivity. It enables enterprises in the sector to analyze the region and provide accurate input to the farmers in real-time.

The intelligent cloud platform solution from Cropin is powered by satellite monitoring of crops, modern agriculture, artificial intelligence, precision agriculture, data analytics, temperature and moisture sensors, GPS technology, etc. Empowered by these data, Agri-input companies can communicate accurate information with the farmers in real-time, and in turn, perfect their sale strategy and increase productivity while focusing on driving profitability.

Agri-input companies can benefit from farmer engagement by gaining customer loyalty, leading to improved sales metrics.

improved sales metrics with agriculture technology

This translates into:

  • Better customer engagement and customer loyalty
  • Design of effective marketing strategies
  • Improved sales metrics
  • Internal team and dealer management